All three of the previously released singles from Freak Show -- Freak, Abuse Me and Cemetery -- have been No. 1 successes on the ARIA Alternative chart and Top 10 hits on the national mainstream ARIA chart.
The new single is a five-track and includes the studio version of Surfin' Bird from the Surfrider Foundation MOM compilation, and three songs recorded live at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom on April 20, 1997 -- Roses, Madman and Minor Threat. Vocals on Minor Threat feature Jeremy Chatelain from Handsome, who supported silverchair at many dates in North America earlier this year.
Although the single was not officially delivered to Australian radio stations until Sept. 22, The Door had already proven popular with radio programmers around the country. Triple J added the track from the album to rotation several weeks earlier, and the song had already been included in the Austereo Hot 30 countdowns.
"It's influenced a lot by Led Zeppelin and anything from that era really," said silverchair's Daniel Johns. "Before the album, when I actually wrote it and showed Ben and Chris, Ben and Chris liked it and they wanted to continue working on it and write a bit more, and I didn't really like the song. And they were like, 'oh, come on, we'll just use it' and so I said, 'yeah all right,' just to see how it would turn out. And it ended up changed a little bit and now I'm really happy with it.
The song has become a crowd favourite at silverchair's live shows. No new video clip will be filmed for the single, but the band plans to provide Australian music video outlets with live versions of The Door.
The video for Cemetery, the third single from silverchair's Freak Show album, made its North American debut on Canada's Much Music channel.
The video had its world premiere June 21 during the Video Hits programme on Australia's Ten Network and is being shown by MTV in various parts of the world.
The single debuted as No. 5 in Australia and No. 1 on the Australian alternative music chart. The bonus tracks are a live acoustic version of Cemetery and Slab (Nicklaunoise Mix), a remix by Freak Show producer Nick Launay, which includes parts of three songs from the album -- Slave, No Association and Learn To Hate.
The single also includes the CD Extra material which was previously available only on copies of Freak Show sold outside Australia. The CD Extra includes a multimedia "sideshow," a live performance of Israel's Son and video interviews with the band. In addition to a CD single, murmur will also release a special 12-inch vinyl for Cemetery.
In France, the Cemetery single will include a track called Fade Up by the French band Manifold, which won a competition and opened for silverchair at their last appearance in Paris.
Director Gerry Casale (Freak video) rejoined silverchair to film the Cemetery music video during a short break in the band's April-May U.S. tour.
The moving ballad was the last song chosen for inclusion on Freak Show. It has been warmly received at the band's live shows in the first half of 1997.
On stage, Cemetery is performed as a solo by silverchair vocalist/guitarist Daniel Johns. However, the recorded version features Ben Gillies on timpani drums and a Jane Scarpantoni string arrangement recorded in New York's legendary Electric Lady Studios.
"I suppose we had more of a Led Zeppelin influence on this record," Johns said. "They had some cool but weird string arrangements. Like Kashmir has some really strange experimental string sounds on it and that's what we wanted to achieve with Cemetery."
Silverchair rewrote the record books last Friday when all 4,000 tickets for their show at Brisbane Festival Hall sold out in five hours. Although this venue has been used for rock concerts since the 1950s, this is the first time in history that an Australian band has sold out this venue in just one day.
The Brisbane sell out took place one week after the chair's upcoming Darwin show also sold out all 4,000 tickets in less than a day.
Silverchair's new single Cemetery will be released on June 30 and a full Australian tour is planned for the end of this year.
Silverchair took time out from their current U.S. tour this week to shoot the video for the third single from Freak Show, the haunting ballad Cemetery. The band again teamed up with former Devo keyboardist Gerry Casale in the director's chair, having worked with him originally on the Freak video. Cemetery will be released globally in June.
In addition to the title song, the release features two bonus tracks. One is a techno-style remix of Freak called Freak (Remix For Us Rejects). The other extra track on the Abuse Me single is a song called Undecided. It is not the song of the same name from silverchair's debut album frogstomp.
The Undecided on the Abuse Me single is a song made popular by the legendary Australian band Masters Apprentice. silverchair recorded the song while working with Deniz Tek of Radio Birdman last fall in the U.S. Tek and silverchair recorded vocal and guitar tracks for New Race (a bonus track on the Freak single) at Baby Monster Studios in New York City.
New Race went so well that producer Nick Launay asked Tek and the band to record an additional song. Tek suggested the "old" Undecided and taught it to the members of silverchair, who learned it in 20 minutes.
It is decidedly not a silverchair original, with Daniel Johns singing lyrics such as "I wanna be your sweet loving man," which between takes he jokingly (and uncharacteristically) sang as "I wanna be your sweet loving Dan!"
Silverchair's second album, Freak Show, went on sale Feb. 3, 1997 in Australia and Feb. 4 throughout the rest of the world.
At midnight on the 4th, silverchair were in the U.S. and marked the occasion with a visit to Blockbuster Music in Atlanta, Georgia to sign copies of the new disc.
Earlier in the evening, the band kicked off a tour of 10 U.S. cities in support of the album with a sold-out show at the Roxy -- the location of silverchair's first American appearance on June 21, 1995.
After wrapping up January with a performance in New Zealand, the band took a long trans-Pacific flight to Los Angeles. Within hours, Daniel, Chris and Ben made a return appearance on the syndicated radio show Modern Rock Live and headed for what they hoped would be a relaxing night at their hotel.
However, the night was far from peaceful for Daniel. Manager John Watson told chairpage that the hotel's telephone system was malfunctioning, and the phone in Daniel's room kept ringing all night long.
The flight from L.A. to Atlanta was delayed for several hours by weather, including a long time circling Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. The band arrived at their hotel in Atlanta just hours before the show was set to start.
After the long day, the typical full-out performance at The Roxy, and the late-night record store appearance, silverchair were ready for a rest, but not along one since the band jetted out of the country the next day for a live performance and interview on Canada's Much Music channel.
Meanwhile, Freak Show debuted at number one on the charts in Australia, and number 12 in the U.S.
Following is a press release from murmur music regarding the Dec. 6, 1996 encounter between silverchair, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, and the Santa Monica, Calif. police:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SILVERCHAIR AND RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS GUITARIST DAVE NAVARRO BUSTED ON THE BEACH IN MALIBU, CA IN RECKLESS DRIVING INCIDENT
The three members of silverchair, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, were taken into custody by police on Friday, December 6 in Malibu, CA while test driving a vehicle for U.S. magazine Bikini's Test Drive column.
silverchair's Daniel Johns, Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies had been safely piloting a new four-wheel-drive Montero Sport around a Malibu parking lot with Dave Navarro, who was on board to write the article.
When they took the vehicle on to the sand, chaos ensued when three policemen and four Baywatch-style patrol officers appeared from nowhere and ordered Johns, who happened to be at the wheel at the time, out of the vehicle. The police took Johns to the Santa Monica Police Station, planning to charge him for driving without a license and on the beach without a permit. He was briefly placed in a holding cell until representatives from Epic Records, the band's U.S. label, could be dispatched to the hotel to fetch the singer's Australian driver's license and passport.
All was well in the end, however, and after a little friendly negotiation the relieved band members gladly posed with the officers for photographs. Johns was released and all charges were dropped.
The article by Dave Navarro will appear in the April '97 issue of Bikini magazine.
silverchair were visiting L.A. after playing music festivals in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo with the Sex Pistols, Bad Religion, Cypress Hill and Spacehog. While in L.A. silverchair played a small undercover club show at The Troubadour under the moniker "The George Costanza Trio" and shot a video for Freak, the first single to be released from their forthcoming album. Freak will be at radio from Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, and available at retail from Jan. 13.
silverchair have now returned to Australia. Their next live shows are in Hobart on January 10, Launceston January 11, and the Peaches N Cream Festival in Cobram, Vic. on Saturday, January 25.
During the band's December 1996 visit to Los Angeles, Guitar World magazine caught up with silverchair's Daniel Johns and Chris Joannou for a preview of Freak Show.
"It seemed like a good theme for an album and a tour," Johns told Guitar World. "Being in a band is a lot like working in a circus or freak show. You set up and play, and then pack up and move to the next city."
The magazine's poinmt of view: "Even if life is a carnival for the teenaged Australian power trio, their sophomore effort demonstrates that they are not clowning around. Intense new songs like Slave, Abuse Me and Cemetery reveal a darker, more disturbing vision than their multi-platinum debut, frogstomp."
"We didn't sit down and say, 'OK, we're going to write a really dark album'," Johns explained in the interview. "It just came out like that. We did, however, have a pretty strong idea of what we wanted Freak Show to sound like. We were trying to fuse a really hard, compressed sound associated with bands like Helmet and Quicksand with a looser, live-in-the-studio approach associated with producer Steve Albini. We got somewhere in between and we're really happy with it."
Guitar World's story on the interview appeared in the magazine's February 1997 issue.
Ben Gillies, Chris Joannou and Daniel Johns were in a Hollywood studio on Thursday, December 5 to do their parts in the film clip for Freak, one of the 13 songs on silverchair's forthcoming album Freak Show. Gillies revealed the plot of the video in an exclusive interview with chairpage.
"We're playing in an oven and there's these big coil things making us sweat a lot," he said. "There's this scientist guy in this big white robe kind of thing collecting all our sweat, and there's a real old lady, and they're pumping our sweat in this real old lady.
"By the end of the film clip she like, goes younger. She turns into a young girl but it's not like a fountain of youth, she turns into a young girl but she turns into a lizard as well, so it's pretty funny."
Although the video was shot in the U.S., Freak will be the second single in North America and the first in the rest of the world. Abuse Me will be promoted first in the U.S. and Canada, and the clip for that song was recently filmed in Australia.
A correspondent for chairpage.com was in the studio while the first portion of the Freak video was being filmed.
"The set was neat," our correspondent reports. "It was circular, similar to the shape of the set in the Chili Peppers' Warped video. When I first walked into the studio I thought that the lights were actual heat lamps, but then I realized they were just lights colored orange to look like heat lamps. So I guess you could say it really did look like a really big oven.
"They had to spray the guys with a lot of water to make it look like they were sweating a lot, and then the scientist guy would come on stage with prongs and a cotton ball and wipe a little bit of 'sweat' off of them and put it in a container. The guy was pretty funny looking -- he was wearing this space-suit type of thing.
"They didn't have to do that many takes, but they did film each section different ways, so they'd have a good variety of things to edit together. At first they had all three guys on stage, then one would step off and they'd just use two, and then they filmed each band member individually.
"Daniel had a silver guitar, Chris had a silver bass, and Ben had cherry red drums. I had the chance to hear the studio version of the song and it sounds really good! It's a bit slower than the live version and it's different from the versions they played on their tours earlier this year. But it sounds very good. There are even some back-up vocals on one part.
"I didn't get the chance to stay until the end of filming for that day, but I did find out that the lizard and old lady parts were going to be filmed at a seperate studio the following day. It was really great being there and getting the chance to see Freak being filmed. I can tell you now, there¹s a lot to look forward to for that video!"
Silverchair now have their own Internet home page at www.chairpage.com.
Much of the content of the new site originated at two fan-based sites: the Innocent Criminals page and the Israel's Son web site.
The band itself owns the chairpage.com domain name, and the site will work in cooperation with the Internet operations of Sony Music Entertainment, which is the parent company of silverchair's record label, murmur.